Pipeland supporters warn of petition scaremongering

Artist's impression of the interior of the proposed replacement Madras College at Pipeland.
Artist's impression of the interior of the proposed replacement Madras College at Pipeland.

The parents’ group which supports Pipelands for the new Madras College has criticised a petition against the site as scaremongering.

It instead urges anti-Pipeland campaigners to consider the impact of further delays on local children.

The petition raised recently asked people to put their name to a call for a turnaround on the proposal to site the new school next to St Andrews Community Hospital on the southern edge of the town on the grounds that it would have “a serious negative effect on the functions of the hospital and its prospect of future expansion”.

However, a spokesperson for Parent Voice this week said that in March 2014 NHS Fife, in response to a direct inquiry from the group, stated that it did not oppose the building next to the hospital.

And as a result of a Freedom of Information request made by the group last month, NHS Fife said it had no plans to expand the hospital.

“How many of the people who signed were explicitly told that the NHS had no objections, and no current or future plans to expand the hospital, before they signed?” the spokesperson said.

“If they weren’t told, how many would change their views in the light of that information?”

The NHS statement referred to said: “As stated, the original objections related only to traffic and flow and site safety. NHS Fife have received assurances from Fife Council about these matters and the objections have been withdrawn.

“NHS Fife is not in opposition to the provision of a school adjacent to the hospital campus, and have not indicated any objections in terms of the adjacencies to inpatient areas (these include those designated for Palliative Care) or other services provided on the hospital campus.”

However, Moira Cubie, the local resident who started the petition, said she had done so as she was anxious to defend the hospital and its future.

Asked if she was aware of NHS Fife’s position regarding the Pipeland proposal and if it had been explained to signatories, she stated: “I have no knowledge of the negotiations between Fife Council and NHS Fife, nor of the NHS Fife statement about the future of the hospital, but common sense indicates that growing numbers in the catchment and an aging population will necessitate an enlargement of the hospital within the lifetime of the new school”.

She also said: “It is significant that a number of those who have signed the petition work at the hospital.

“More than 1500 people have signed the petition, 1200 of whom are from St Andrews. They signed because they feel concern for the hospital as I do.”

The petition is to be presented to Councillor David Ross next week.

Meanwhile, Parent Voice hopes graphics of the replacement school at Pipeland, and the facilities it would provide to the community, would prove inspirational to local people.